Saturday, September 23
samsung galaxy z fold 4 standing multitasking

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 isn’t really a phone. Neither is the tablet. It has a large tablet-like display and phone-level cameras, but it doesn’t offer full coverage on both sides. As such, he needed a software experience that would walk between phones and tablets without falling one way or the other. That’s where Android 12L comes in. It’s a shot in the arm that Samsung’s book-style foldable needs, and it sets a new bar for manufactured software.

watch out: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review

Hold down the taskbar.

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 camera interface on Android 12L

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Android 12L lives on in the Galaxy Z Fold 4 and dies with the taskbar on the bottom edge. OK, maybe not that impressive, but it goes a long way to making the 7.6-inch display more manageable. It fills a similar role to the taskbar on a Mac or PC, saving you from thumb yoga instead of giving your mouse pointer a break.

Not only is the taskbar easy to access, but it also begs you to multitask. It stacks a few must-have apps for everyday use next to some of your personal favorites, making it easy to jump from one focus to the next. Once you’re in the multitasking weed, you’ll start seeing some of your travel combinations on the right side of the taskbar. One of mine is a combination of Chrome and Google Maps – the perfect mix for navigating to a restaurant and reading a menu at the same time.

Android 12L’s taskbar puts more at your fingertips and provides a break from painful thumb yoga.

Screenshot 20220916 073010 YouTube

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The application drawer is accessed from the taskbar

Perhaps the smartest part about Android 12L’s taskbar is knowing when to hold em and when to fold it. It disappears when the main display is closed and anytime you go into full screen video or a game like Asphalt 9. Even if you can’t see it, the taskbar is just a swipe up – don’t just start. You will be returned to the bottom of the display or your home screen.

know more: Here are the best foldable phones you can get right now.

Positions, positions, positions

samsung galaxy z fold 4 youtube multitasking

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Running two apps at the same time is nothing new – at least on Android. However, it’s not as easy to spot as it is on the Galaxy Z Fold 4. Splitting the massive display into two or three neat blocks is miles ahead of splitting Samsung’s next largest display, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, in half.

When multitasking in Android 12L, you have complete control over whether your apps are split vertically or horizontally. I prefer the windows to be on top of each other as it’s easier to scroll both at the same time, but the choice is entirely yours.

Two apps, three apps, portrait, landscape, the layouts are (almost) unlimited.

Samsung’s first-party apps also benefit from a healthy dose of layout love. The camera app, for example, looks ridiculous when it gives the entire display to the viewfinder. However, it offers optional tweaks like gallery mode and cover screen preview to optimize the folding form factor. Gallery mode opens a panel on the left half of the internal display to display the latest photos and videos you’ve taken, while the cover screen preview does exactly what’s on the external display.

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The native dialer app also gets in on the fun by having a sort of phonebook layout. Its Contacts tab displays your entire list of contacts on the left side of the grid, and every time you tap on a name, it opens up deeper information on the right side. Although the keyboard is a giant keyboard, the recent tab follows the same structure. YouTube is one of the few third-party apps that supports fully customizable layouts, but it’s still a work in progress, as I’ll explain below.

Not all Samsung apps follow the highly customizable Android 12L trend, and a few skip multi-window support altogether. For example, Samsung Wallet is all or nothing when it comes to accessing your screen. That’s probably fine if you’re just using the app to make mobile payments, but it might not be so convenient if you want to keep track of your finances while shopping online.

Read more: With Android 12L, Google should lead by example.

A few creams are left to soften

Youtube on Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 Android 12L

Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Android 12L will never be out of the gate. As a software solution for tablets, Chromebooks and notebooks, it had a mountain to climb. The three device types differ in size, shape, and usability, so optimizing an app for a tablet isn’t the same as optimizing for the Galaxy Z Fold 4.

For example, opening a video on YouTube can take any position. With the Galaxy Z Fold 4 fully open, it works well in landscape or portrait, even if it’s not full screen. However, the minute you try to watch a full-screen video with the display partially folded, you’ll experience the above horror. Instead of shrinking the video and pushing it above or below the fold, it stays pinched in the middle, so you can only see half of what you’re looking at. Never mind the thick black bars – although they’re better than Android 12L’s due to the square aspect ratio.

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Google may be the mastermind behind Android 12L, but YouTube optimization is a head-scratcher at times.

Another issue is that some apps skip optimization for Android 12L altogether. Instagram is a big punching bag for big screen devices simply because it refuses to play the game. There isn’t one for the iPad or Galaxy Tab, and the approach to the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is “here’s a normal smartphone app, use it.” Instagram doesn’t even bother to fill the screen on the Samsung Premium Fold, simply swiping left or right to scroll. Again, it’s not Android 12L’s fault, but layout issues become a headache to use, especially when developers aren’t trying to adapt.

Despite the controversial layout, Android 12L is the Galaxy Z Fold 4’s biggest step in the right direction. Thankfully, Google has promised to keep working on the software as long as Samsung continues to push foldables, so there’s still hope that some of the bugs will be ironed out. After all, the software takes me back to a phone that every fiber of my being wants to believe is huge. My fibers are not faulty. It’s a behemoth that proves its worth on my busiest days, but a behemoth.


Robert is an expert in Android mobile phones. He has been using Android phones since they first came out, and he has been following the development of the platform closely. He has written many articles and tutorials on Android phones, and he is always up-to-date on the latest news and developments in the world of Android.